Alcoa Foundation Advancing Sustainability Research | Lightweight Vehicle Structures

Lightweight Vehicles

Lightweight Metal-Based Vehicle Structures: Innovative Design and Agile Manufacture

The Ohio State University – Institute for Materials Research

OSU

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The Ohio State University research team with an aluminum bicycle frame they are currently designing.In the United States, Alcoa Foundation is supporting research that will pave the future of transportation. It is widely recognized that the increased use of light metals can reduce vehicle chassis mass dramatically, but the application of this knowledge has been limited. The costs of raw materials and manufacturing are perceived to be much greater than those for standard iron-based structures. The Ohio State University Institute for Materials Research is exploring different facets of lightweight transportation structures. Specifically, the research will examine the implications of innovative design and agile manufacturing for mass transportation vehicles. This will lead to solutions that reduce weight, improve fuel efficiency and minimize the overall environmental footprint of mass transit.

Worldwide, researchers are developing a large number of discrete technologies for reducing mass in vehicle components. However, the real academic multi-disciplinary issue that few institutions address is the holistic integration of these materials and technologies. The strengths at The Ohio State University, that include scale, materials science, joining, automotive engineering and design, will be harnessed to provide design and manufacturing solutions for multi-material next-generation vehicles. Archival publications that focus on validated multi-material design methods will be key products of this work.

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